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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Midday Update: Obama’s Post-Election Challenges

by Newsteam Staff
November 7, 2012

Photo of the Day: U.S. President Barack Obama with Vice President Joe Biden election night in Chicago, November 6, 2012. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)


President Barack Obama was reelected to a second term (WashPost) Tuesday, winning a majority of both the electoral vote and the popular vote, and now faces a tough road ahead on economic and national security issues.

In his acceptance speech last night, the president said he would seek to work with leaders of both parties on reducing the deficit, reforming the tax code, fixing the country’s immigration system, and “freeing ourselves from foreign oil.”

What faces President Obama next is not “overinflated expectations of partisan, racial and global healing, but granular negotiations over spending cuts and tax increases plus a looming showdown with Iran,” writes Peter Baker in the New York Times.

The U.S. House will continue to have a Republican majority, while Democrats retained control of the Senate, complicating prospects of reaching a deal on the so-called “fiscal cliff” (Politico). In CNN exit polls, 60 percent of voters named the economy as their top issue.

Foreign Policy asked fourteen top analysts to peer ahead at the longer-term issues confronting the United States, noting that the incoming president faces “a daunting list,” including Europe’s debt morass, North Korea’s nuclear program, sagging U.S. competitiveness, and worsening climate change.

BBC correspondents around the world give their thoughts on what an Obama victory means for nations from Iran to China to Pakistan.

Democrats held on to their majority in the Senate, and “believe their sweeping wins of key Senate races and President Barack Obama’s historic reelection give them new ground to push a more ambitious agenda, ranging from tax reform to an immigration overhaul to energy legislation,” reports Politico.

In combination with the retirement of several Democrats on the Armed Services and Homeland Security and Government Affairs Senate committees, Democrat Claire McCaskill’s victory in Missouri puts her near the top of the seniority rankings on both of them, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

This will likely “enable her to expand her watchdog role, in which she has shined a light on Arlington National Cemetery’s grave site confusion and disclosed security lapses at the U.S. embassy in Kabul,”  the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Meanwhile, Democrat Tim Kaine, who supports defense budget cuts, defeated Republican George Allen in a Virginia Senate race that Foreign Policy described as the most “intermeshed with defense issues” in the nation.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri and Senior Editor Toni Johnson

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